Sulfur and nitrogen balances in biofilters for odorous gas emission control

Y. Sun, Chuck Clanton, Kevin A Janni, Gary L Malzer

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50 Scopus citations


Biofiltration is a promising technology for reducing odor and gas emissions from livestock operations. Two important operating parameters in biofiltration - media moisture content (MC), and gas retention time (RT) - were studied to determine their effects on sulfur (S) and nitrogen (N) balances. Laboratory experiments were carried out to determine S and N accumulation in and emissions from biofilters with various media MC (30%, 40%, 50% wb) and RT (5, 10, 20 s). The biofilter media was a mixture of compost and wood chips. The media bed was 0.20 m deep and 0.30 m in diameter Two trials (replications) were run. Results showed that 47% to 94% of the hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and 25% to 90% of the ammonia (NH3) were removed by the biofilters. Removal efficiency varied with treatment. Biofilters with 50% MC and 20 s RT had the largest removal efficiencies for both H2S and NH3, with average H2S removal rates of 92.8% in Trial 1 and 94.2% in Trial 2. Average NH3 removal efficiencies of these biofilters (50% MC and 20 s RT) were 90.3% in Trial 1 and 75.8% in Trial 2. S and N accumulation in the biofilter media was also affected by MC and RT. Accumulation models for S and N in the media were developed and reported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1861-1875
Number of pages15
JournalTransactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000


  • Biofilter
  • Nitrogen
  • Odor
  • Sulfur

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